What is Exposure?

Exposure, also sometimes referred to as the elements at risk, are those elements within a given area that have been, or could be, subject to the impact of a particular hazard.

For example, elements at risk might include the population, buildings and civil engineering works, economic activities, public services, utilities and infrastructure which are at risk in a given area. The elements at risk can be expressed as a population size or in monetary terms such as replacement cost.

The exposure is influenced by the number of people, buildings and other infrastructure within an area.

Analysis of risk to a community requires the development of extensive datasets which define the most vulnerable components of communities. The data which provides the basis for vulnerability assessments and ultimately allows the determination of the potential impact of an event include:

  • building construction classifications and distributions
  • building codes, construction practices and costs
  • infrastructure such as roads, water, power and sewage
  • institutions such as emergency facilities, hospitals, educational and government bodies
  • distribution of population, income, and other statistical information such as age, occupation, disability and education
  • economic data on business sectors including turnover, employment, industrial production, exports and imports
  • emergency management arrangements for disaster response and recovery.